Healing Time for a Broken Toe

The healing time for a broken toe depends on the severity of the fracture and the placement of the fracture on the foot. The foot has a total of 26 bones, with the bones in the toe called phalanges. Fractures to the toe are common, as they absorb a lot of the impact of daily activity. In order to allow a broken toe to completely heal, it's important to allow for the maximum amount of time as outlined by the doctor.

Ice the Toe
When the broken toe is diagnosed, apply ice to keep any swelling down and to manage pain. Ice should be applied to the injury for 20 minutes every 2 hours. After the first 2 days of this ice treatment, the process can be lengthened to every 3 hours for 2 more days. Icing the toe often brings relief to the patient because pain is numbed temporarily and the swelling is reduced, causing less pressure to the area.

Propping the foot up allows the patient to experience less swelling to the area. By keeping the toe elevated above the heat, not as much fluid is pumped to the area. Lounge chairs are useful for this, and the foot should also be elevated when sleeping. This should be done for the entire week following the injury, and longer if needed as advised by a doctor.

When someone has a broken toe, time is the only thing that can heal it. However, to be truly effective, the patient must avoid strenuous exercise and even moderate activity should be avoided. The doctor may even recommend crutches to keep pressure off the broken toe for the entire time. The patient must avoid activities that cause too much pressure on the foot and choose activities with minimum standing and reduced motion. This should be done for the entire healing period of a broken toe-at least six weeks.

If a broken toe is severely displaced, surgery may be required to mend the ends of the bone. In the event of surgery, the patient may be looking at anywhere from a six- to eight-week recovery time to even longer, depending on the severity of the broken toe.

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